4 Tips to Boost Customer and Employee Engagement for Greater Retail Business Success

Trends come and go, and they often redefine how a retail business operates and what kinds of offers it creates to attract the modern customer. What needs to become a constant in any retail brand’s strategy is its approach to overall engagement, internal as well as external. Investing more time and creativity in defining your engagement strategy with your employees as well as your customers will lead to a better, more productive business, but also more success down the line.

Too many retail brands focus heavily on pushy advertising in order to be competitive and remain visible online as well as offline. In the same way, these same brands focus on attracting top candidates without really knowing how to keep them. Engagement strategies will help you build a roadmap for your brand’s long-lasting recognition and success. Let’s cover some of the most impactful engagement elements for your employees and customers that you need to incorporate in your strategy as soon as possible.

Feedback at the core of your strategy

Helpful and constructive – these are the kind of comments you need to look for when you’re devising your very own internal feedback cycle. Your HR manager should regularly conduct employee performance reviews, but the employees should also be allowed to do the same for the entire brand. Their feedback will become a treasure trove of improvement opportunities that will make your employees feel heard and valued, provided that you follow through. 

On the other end of the spectrum, asking your customers for feedback and then acting on it will entice them to communicate with you more frequently. If their comments get nothing but crickets, you cannot expect them to rush to comment on your posts or share your articles. Use every opportunity to post their reviews (which further boosts your ranking), and of course, make it as prominent as possible to build trust with new customers who will base their decision on other customers’ previous experiences. 

SEO for better brand availability

You cannot expect your customers to miraculously find your brand online in a sea of other retail businesses that offer the same, or similar products in your area. If you operate in a market with exceptionally high levels of competition such as Sydney, you need to invest even more time and effort to push your brand towards the top of the SERPs.

Your local business needs to use trusted Sydney SEO methods like keyword optimization and ongoing content creation to bring more local customers to your site and inspire more engagement. Covering Sydney events where your brand plays a role, working with other local businesses, and earning links on the sites of local magazines all helps drive up your website traffic.

What about employees and SEO? Well, imagine what you can do when you position your employer brand higher on the results page and you’re in need of top-notch salespeople. More potential employees will show their interest and engage with your brand, while existing employees can help boost that engagement with their own contributions. 

Ensure ongoing education

Knowledge is at the core of every successful collaboration, so it makes sense you’re after employees with all the right qualifications. The job they take up with your brand, however, should in no way become a setback for their further professional growth. One of the key motivation sources for any employee is training availability and ongoing education. 

Education, on the other hand, is another brilliant way to engage your customers, too. Do they know all the different ways they can put your product to use? All the ways they can wear a stylish item, or all the methods of using a particular tool you’re selling? Informative content that answers their most common questions will inspire them to go to you for other tips and advice, ask questions, and engage with your brand more frequently. 

Influencers and brand ambassadors to the rescue

A major part of how your brand communicates with customers consists of what you inspire others to say about you. If you consistently show your customers that others before them have rightfully trusted your retail brand with their needs, they’ll be much more likely to show up at your store or visit your website looking for their next favorite product.

If you do the same with your employee experiences with the help of online employer review platforms, you’ll build the right employer brand and turn employees into brand ambassadors more effective than any job ad ever. Engage your customers by enticing them to post their own content while interacting with your brand – through images, creative polls, surveys, and let them tag you. Engage your employees by letting them post their own experiences about working with your brand. Their voices will help your business thrive. 

Engagement is the result of a multitude of different tactics, ongoing learning, and above all, your management’s willingness to make changes when necessary. Sometimes that means adapting to a more flexible collaboration model, while at other times, it requires your brand to completely revamp its onboarding procedures or social media guidelines. 

The key to remember is that you’re not getting a set-in-stone strategy with these ideas, but merely a foundation upon which you can build with your own creativity and regular audits. Listen to your employees as much as you listen to your customers, and your retail business will stand the test of time.

5 Core Benefits of Using CRM Software for Your Business

Technology is evolving at a mind-boggling pace, pushing companies to embrace innovative solutions and tools at every turn. Supposedly, these innovations are all meant to be useful and not merely transient tech fads that will go out of style only to be replaced by yet another trendy add-on. Some, however, have stood the test of time, even though companies aren’t always prepared to embrace them from day one. CRM, or customer relationship management software is the perfect example.

This solution is a universally acknowledged digital toolbox of useful features that every customer-facing business needs. It comprises so many necessary functionalities, that you’d likely need at least a dozen other tools to work in unison if you were to replace it and retain your levels of productivity. Now, if you’re looking to achieve more than retaining productivity, but taking it to the next level together with your business, then CRM has some major benefits you shouldn’t ignore.

Access to customer and performance data

Wherever you look, companies talk about utilizing data and analytics to their advantage, but few actually know how to filter the swarms of information they collect, let alone create sensible reports without bias. The same CRM tools you use to track customer interactions and employee communications allow you access to piles of useful data as well as meaningful reports that help you understand what you could be doing better. 

  • CRM helps you compile crucial customer information to create ideal customer profiles and track customer engagement across the board.
  • You can create actionable reports based on the data your CRM extracts to make smarter decisions in the future.
  • You can leverage CRM forecasting thanks to the collated information on your customers and employees. 

On its own, data can do very little for your business. When it’s paired with a robust CRM platform and all its add-ons and features, that same data has transformative power to take your business forward.

Seamless communication and collaboration

Thanks to its flexible nature, CRM software is designed to work well with other tools you use across your organization. One of the most common communication platforms most businesses use includes the Google Workspace, and of course Gmail. Whether you use Gmail exclusively to communicate internally and externally, or you combine a separate CRM with Gmail, you can improve your communications with the right extensions.

All it takes is choosing the best Gmail CRM extension that will help you integrate and share all of your contacts, so that all team members can access them easily and track all interactions seamlessly. A tool such as Shared Contacts for Gmail working together with your CRM makes it easy for your business to avoid communication delays and mishaps internally as well as externally. Everyone can use the same address book through your CRM extension, and you can manage editing permissions for added control over your processes.

Automation of menial work 

Another great perk of good CRM software is that your teams no longer have to waste their precious time on repetitive, menial tasks that can often be disruptive, energy-consuming, and time-consuming to boot. With the right CRM automation protocols, your employees can focus on mission-critical assignments while your software takes over the rest.

You can automate everything from labor-intensive tasks such as data entry, all the way to creating reports and sales performance assessments that can elevate your business productivity. With the right integrations for social media and the like, you can monitor all automated tasks without any hassle, and even set up automatic alerts to get notified of any relevant changes. 

Better customer experience

The name says it all, so it’s natural to expect that your CRM software should benefit your business in terms of customer acquisition, retention, and overall satisfaction. With all the listed perks, it’s easy to understand how your customers, and thus your business, benefit:

  • Utilizing customer data and accurate profiles helps you improve all customer-facing communications, content creation included.
  • CRM platforms enable simplified personalization so that you can make your customers feel special at all times.
  • With all the right tools and features, your CRM will help your teams avoid communicating with the same people on multiple channels without planning to, and similar mishaps that often occur without a unified communication platform.
  • With all the correct contact information available, your employees can follow up with customers in time, check in on them when necessary, make personalized offers, and build those relationships for the long haul.

Scalability and cost-effectiveness in one

When it’s time to grow and scale your business, you need the technology that has the capacity to not just grow with you, but also to empower that growth from within. CRM tools are typically designed to leverage cloud technology in order to remain flexible and scalable without wreaking havoc on your business performance mid-growth.

If anything, CRM tools enable growth by helping you manage your resources efficiently, recognize performance gaps in time to prevent issues, and use actionable insights specific to each department to fuel growth. 

Few tools can match the multipurpose nature of your CRM software, especially when you consider how many integrations and features you can put to use with it. Although primarily customer-centric, the software is intended to improve your overall business performance on every level, helping you leverage all your assets (people, time, and budget) in smarter and more efficient ways. 

Your company will inevitably try out new tools and some of them will be impressive and highly functional. However, chances are that you’re underusing your current CRM toolbox and that you could be boosting your performance simply by rethinking how you can maximize your CRM’s potential. Keep these perks in mind, and you’ll surely be inspired to find new and creative ways to leverage it for your company.

Going Green? Managing Your Sustainable Business Transformation

Values are, or they should be, at the very center of any business. They dictate your customer relationships, your employee selection processes, and every element of your business strategy. Now that we have so much knowledge about our carbon footprint and the many ways in which we’re harming the environment, there’s no excuse for companies today to stay silent. Nobody can be Switzerland in the face of the climate crisis. 

For that and many other reasons, businesses are now striving to change inside and out, to recognize the crisis and their part in contributing to environmental damage, and above all, to make a difference. Embracing that responsibility starts with how you manage your business from within, so that your HR and business management experts can create and slowly implement smarter, greener strategies. 

This process can take a while, since the shift is far from simple for many industries. Here are a few ways to make this transformation easier on your business and to lead the way in eco-friendly management.

Align your goals and procedures

First and foremost, for your HR department to be able to work on implementation, you need to determine how well your current processes match your sustainability goals. Perhaps you’ll need to switch to digital accounting tools and go paperless, if you haven’t already. Maybe you can adapt your collaboration model to be more flexible and encourage remote work, carpooling, covering public transport fees, and the like.

For many companies, your health and wellness strategies will need to change in order to meet these new standards, too. Some businesses dealing with toxic or dangerous substances need to introduce more stringent protective procedures to ensure employee safety and to prevent environmental damage or hazards. It all begins with aligning your procedures with the goals you want to achieve.

Choose better waste management

In Australia’s most developed, urbanized regions, growing companies often have trouble dealing with waste in its many forms. From energy and water waste on the premises if you have an office, all the way to all kinds of material waste if you have a construction site, rapidly growing companies need to develop better waste management solutions to match their industry’s needs.

For instance, effective waste management in Australia often means utilizing dedicated waste management equipment as well as procedures. On-site crushers and balers, recycling stations, and many other waste processing tools allow employees and business owners to reduce waste and empower reuse and recycling. Wherever your business might be, it’s crucial to follow this mindset and find efficient ways to reduce waste at every turn. 

Employee motivation and training

Most workers will choose your business over others with equally appealing offers precisely because of your values. However, you also need to live up to those promises and standards you present to them in your job ads, which often means motivating your employees through regular and consistent training opportunities. 

This is a chance for them to grow as professionals, giving them immediate value, but it also helps them become a better, more cohesive team working towards the same goals. Training in better, eco-friendly office practices can make your business far more sustainable over time. 

Ongoing assessment and adaptation

Surely, if you’re based in a highly developed region like Australia or New Zealand, you’re most likely responsible before your community, but also before your government when it comes to your sustainability initiatives. There are certain location-specific standards you need to meet and possibly exceed.

To learn whether or not your business is in line with those expectations and standards, you need to be in the loop. For starters, organize regular quarterly assessments to evaluate how well you’re doing with your goals. Your HR managers can then present the results to the employees so that they can together come up with additional ways to change for the better. 

Perhaps you can implement greener office design solutions, switch to LED lights, introduce more recycling stations, or even compost stations for food leftovers. Of course, you’ll also need expert legal advice on how to move forward and implement government-approved methods to go green. 

Know who your partners are 

Choosing your employees with care is one way to go about implementing sustainable practices and building value-based relationships. On the other end of this spectrum of bonds, you have your partners, who should be aligned with your values, too. Do your marketing partners, manufacturers, suppliers, or any other vendors take sustainability seriously? What are they doing differently from others in their niche to make your relationship rooted in shared care for our planet?

So many businesses have hidden policies with harmful effects on the environment. It’s essential to weed out the ones that don’t meet your criteria and start working with those who care as much as you do. Turning a blind eye is not an option, since the world is brimming with experts whose goals are the same as yours – you’ll just need to take your time to find them. 

Sustainability isn’t a linear path, nor is it a one-time goal that you accomplish, and leave be. It’s a continuous learning curve that requires flexibility in how you manage your business and your relationships. It starts with training, equipment, and policies, but it never truly ends: the moment you set your foot on the path to sustainability, that’s the moment your business will need to learn how to succeed in the face of constant change. 

Embrace innovation and emerging technology in your industry, hear your employees out whenever you can, and you’ll soon have a growing green strategy that will help you reposition your business towards smarter, more sustainable goals. 

Ideas for Organizing Team Building Activities

As many experienced HR managers already know, when you have a team that works well together, you also have a team that’s more effective and productive. On the other hand, such teams don’t simply fall from the sky – HR managers work hard to make it happen. For some employees, hearing the words “team building” instantly makes them develop migraines from rolling their eyes over. This is because, even though they should be, not many team building activities are actually fun. We’ve helped put together a few ideas that will help you organize fun and exciting team building activities that employees will enjoy.

Paper plane competition

If you’d like to help your team work better together, throw a small competition in. You can organize a paper plane race, but everyone has to build their own. Luckily, all you need to have is an empty hallway, a bit of tape that you are going to use to mark the launch line, and a measuring stick (or a measuring tape). Alternatively, you can play it outside when it’s not too windy. The trick is to give each team a piece of card stock that they will have to use to build their paper place, and to help them out a bit, make sure to show them several different airplane designs they can try to replicate. The team that builds the plane that will fly the farthest is the winner. Also, everyone should decorate their planes so the judge knows which plane belongs to which team.

Play dare Jenga

For this activity, you need a Jenga set, preferably the one that has extra large blocks. The good side of this activity is that it’s simple to set up and allows players to really test their limits. Each block should have a dare written on it (you can write it on a piece of paper and tape it to each block). Don’t go wild with dares, though – 15 pushups/squats, singing “Baby Shark”, and wearing an ugly sweater or a hat for the rest of the day are funny and mild enough for everyone to accept and enjoy doing them. Make sure each block has a dare, tack them up just like in Jenga, and invite everyone to come and play. Another great thing is that this can easily be done as a relaxing Friday activity and doesn’t require much preparation.

Organize a bike ride

There are only a few things that are more fun than leaving the city and going exploring for a day, so why not use this activity to bring your team closer together? You don’t have to spend a fortune and organize a sightseeing tour of another city – all you need are bikes and a bit of planning. There are probably many interesting places to see around the city, and when you do a bit of research, pick a spot you would like to take your team to. Invite everyone on a biking tour, and see how well they are all getting along outside the office. You can find great Bikes Online if you know that some of the employees don’t have their own bikes, and make sure everyone brings their sunglasses and water bottles. Once you get to the place, throw a picnic and play board games, or just allow everyone to relax and explore the environment.

Do a ‘Zombie escape’

For this activity, you’re going to need a bit more room, a rope, one key, and a stack of clues (you can use anything between 5 and 1, depending on how much time you’re planning to have the team spend on this activity). Before the game start, have one team member volunteer to play the zombie, and encourage them to go all in: arms outstretched, screeching “braaaiiins,” and stumbling around. Invite everyone to an empty room, turn around and dramatically “lock” the door, and after that point out to the “zombie” who is tied in the corner of the room. Even though they are tied, the zombie should have a foot of leeway, and every five minutes they get another foot of rope. In the meantime, the team has to work together to solve the puzzles and find the hidden key so they can leave the room before they get “eaten”.

Take them on a paintball field

No matter how well the team gets along, sometimes the stress of everyday office life and deadlines gets to you. If people are feeling frustrated and overworked, it might be a good idea to take them outside and engage them in an interesting and uncommon activity. Paintball is considered one of the best team building activities because it allows everyone to engage all of their senses and handle all of their frustrations and stress in a healthy way. Divide the people properly: bosses and CEOs shouldn’t be in the same team, but they should stand with their employees. People will love having an ‘excuse’ to shoot their superiors, they will develop their communication and will work much better in a team. In the end, you will have a group of exhausted and happy people who have spent the day outside, shooting others with paintball guns, and having fun.

Walking on eggshells

For this exercise, you are going to have to buy a carton of eggs, and find some simple construction materials such as plastic wrap, straws, rubber bands, balloons, newspaper, some tape, etc. Also, for this exercise, you need to find a place that you won’t mind getting messy (think about parking lots, these are always a good idea because nobody would mind). Divide the entire group into several smaller teams, had them the materials and an egg, and give them about half an hour to come up with a solution that will help protect the egg. They can construct a box, a bag, a carrier, or any other thing they think that will protect the egg. The task is to drop the egg from a certain height (choose the height before you start) and not break it. If you happen to end up with a tie, you can increase the height a bit until there is only one winner. Alternatively, you can boil the eggs first and have the competition inside.

Minefield

If you have an ambitious team on your hands, you can try having them go through a “minefield”. Fortunately, you don’t need much preparation, just an empty room (or even an empty hallway) and some common office items (boxes, desks, shelves, trash cans, fruit bowls, etc). Use these office items to create a set of obstacles (set the mines, so to speak). Group should not be divided into teams but into pairs, and one of the partners should wear a blindfold. The other person is the ‘responsible’ one and they should guide the blindfolded person through the ‘minefield’ without having them bump into or step onto any obstacle. The trick is that the person who is supposed to guide is not allowed to set foot onto the field, but has to only use their voice to help the other navigate. You can start off slowly ad then make it progressively difficult. In the end, the pairs will learn to listen more carefully and give clearer and simpler instructions.

Spider web, spider web…

If you’d like to test everyone’s agility and flexibility, have them play the “spider web” game .for this, you will need to tape a couple of pieces of string across a doorway at different heights. One should be placed at approximately three-and-a-half feet while the other should be put a bit higher, at about five feet. Explain the rules: each string is a dangerous and highly poisonous spider web that melts the flesh of everyone that touches it (or something equally dramatic). Divide the people into two (or more) teams and instruct them to help each other go through the opening without touching the strings. After everyone is on the other side, tape more pieces of string, and make it more difficult.

Online karaoke party

Even if all of your company’s employees are working remotely because of corona virus, there are still some funny games you can play online to help bring them all closer together. Throw an online karaoke party for everyone! You don’t need much – you don’t have to book a place, bring the machine, and negotiate the price of drinks. Everyone should just stay at home and use their computers to try and be the best karaoke singers in the company. If you’d like to take it to the next level, make it into a competition: hand out points, make up rules, and compare everyone’s high scores to find winners.

Whose office?

Another useful icebreaking game you can play remotely is the “Whose office is it?” Everyone should send you several photos of their home office beforehand, and you can use any file sharing tool to show them to the rest of the team. You can spice it up and ask about specific coffee mugs, plants, cushions, and wall décor too. You can send one photo by one or you can send them all at once, mark them with numbers or symbols, and have people guess whose photos is whose. If you want to take it to the next level, try having everyone guess whose desktop background is it, or even compare the views of the office window.

If you’re hoping to have a team that’s going to be successful, work well together, and be incredibly effective, you really have to make sure that your team-building skills are on point. Activities that are meant to bring your team together are many, and just because something sounds great on paper, doesn’t mean it will work in real life. Get to know your team a bit better before you suggest any activities, it will save you a lot of trouble (and some money too). In the end, if you do it right, you’ll help your team connect and function a lot better, resulting in a better workplace dynamic.

2020 The Year of Remote Work

It is only June, and thanks to COVID-19, people have declared 2020 as the year of remote work. While telecommuting seemed beyond reach in most industries only a few months ago, this year it has become a necessity. The pandemic has forced employers to come up with novel and successful ways to keep their businesses afloat. For this reason, many companies have asked their employees to work from home. Google has taken the whole matter a step further and advised remote work to its workforce for the rest of the year. Even though some might struggle with this work mode, it is actually quite beneficial for both employers and employees.

Most employees are used to going to work and spending eight or more hours in the office. At first, the sudden change of routine may be strange for them. However, once they recover from the initial shock, they stand to gain quite a lot.  Working from the comfort of their home can considerably boost their productivity and performance. Also, it can have a huge impact on their mental and physical health as well.

The employees no longer have to waste their time commuting. They will be more punctual because traffic jams and parking spaces don’t pose an issue for them in the morning. Once they log on to the selected platform, they are in the workplace ready to reach their daily goals. As a result, travel and accommodation expenses are significantly reduced. If the companies ultimately switch to this work mode, it will bring substantial benefits to the environment too. The reduction of toxic emissions and pollution raises awareness on environmental protection.

What worries employers the most in this situation is employee productivity and performance. There are many distractions at home and most employees are forced to turn their space for relaxation into an office. However, with the right internal communication app, the employers have nothing to worry about. Effective communication is one of the pillars of a successful business. These collaborative business solutions keep everyone well informed and on the same page. Dropbox, Google Hangouts, or Google Drive allows employees to communicate and cooperate on different projects and documents simultaneously. The social aspect of the workplace isn’t neglected as coworkers now use online group chats instead of the good old chatting by the water cooler. Still, for boosting employee performance, everyone has to agree on the preferred communication tool. Forcing tools and channels might cause the opposite effect.

While it seems the pandemic is coming to an end, its consequences are yet to be felt in the months to come. Among good things to come out of this mess is definitely a stronger bond between colleagues. When employees have good work relationships with their coworkers and managers, it positively reflects on the business. Friendship and team spirit largely contribute to creating a healthy work environment. Working under such optimum conditions improves employee productivity and spurs their collaboration. Managers now than ever have to invest time and effort in team building activities and a pleasant work atmosphere. As a result, the employees will maintain their sense of belonging and actively contribute to reaching the corporate aims.

In the long term, remote work may change the whole attitude about work and provide some new perspectives. Millennials are swooping in and along with talent, come with certain expectations about the workplace and work process itself. One of their priorities is having a healthy work-life balance. For this reason, the younger workforce is largely attracted by flexible schedules and working hours. This would enable them to provide for themselves and their families while also pursuing other activities. If the companies want to keep and compete for top talent in the future, they have to make fundamental changes in their management. Allowing the employees to plan their own schedule might prove to be crucial when offering jobs to potential associates. Similarly, instead of being compensated for the hours they spent working, they would like to be rewarded for their accomplishments.

To conclude, due to the unprecedented situation, most companies have started working remotely. Although it seemed quite a challenge, employers have discovered numerous perks of this work mode. Employees are right on time for work and the commuting expenses are significantly reduced. On the other hand, what is boosted are productivity, communication, and collaboration. Through proper communication channels, everyone gets timely updates. As a result, they complete work tasks promptly and without any delays. Besides, remote work enhances work-life balance which is one of the top priorities of the millennials. Their work-related expectations will without a doubt, shape the workplace and the whole work culture in the years to come.

Tips for Reopening Your Business in the Wake of COVID-19

Employee safety in the wake of COVID-19 is more of an issue than ever before. With the concerns of the pandemic atop the economic difficulties of reopening a business or starting a new one, human resources now means giving employees and coworkers the tools to stay safe and maintain social distancing.

 

No matter the challenges, you can create an office space that is safe, sustainable, and functional. All it takes are the right steps and tools to help you open or reopen your workplace post-coronavirus. 

 

Here are five tips for reopening your business safely and successfully:

#1: Write or Rewrite Your Business Plan

Whether you are planning to start a business fresh or are restarting after COVID-19 shutdowns, the pandemic has changed many factors. Reconsider how you’ll conduct business and employee procedures from the ground up. This means reworking your business plan. 

 

A business plan can include everything from long-term goals to the structure of day-to-day procedures. The most important factor involved in the business plan are the financials. From a value proposition to financial projections, the state of the pandemic economy has likely affected your plans. Rework your business plan when starting or restarting a business to set clear and updated expectations for yourself, your employees, or your investors. 

 

#2: Calculate the Costs

 

Successfully restarting a business after the pandemic comes down to a realistic calculation of the costs involved. Take inventory of all expected expenses that come with returning to an office space, potentially onboarding new employees, and restructuring for social distancing.

 

Use a helpful budgeting tool to take inventory and calculate these costs. Mobile apps and digital tools help you keep track of all expenses on the go as you work out a realistic cost analysis.

 

Take advantage of the mobility and flexibility offered by budgeting apps as you consider the costs surrounding reopening maintenance, furnishings, equipment, personnel, and so much more. 

 

#3: Factor in Reopening Procedures

 

With a physical office location, you need to take into account the maintenance procedures that will be required before moving employees back to the office. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list the dangers of a dormant building, citing the risk of mold and Legionella. Prevent problems by taking the proper steps when returning to the office. 

 

Start by developing a plan for water management and ensure that the water heater in your building is functioning properly. Then, flush your water lines with hot and cold water. This is vital in killing Legionella growth and replacing all water in the building’s piping with fresh, clean water. 

 

Follow up with ensuring that all water storage and maintenance systems like cooling towers, sprinkler systems, and eye wash stations are clean and functional. Finally, disinfect all water fountains and features.

 

There are costs associated with these necessary procedures that you’ll need to prepare for and document, but completing them helps guarantee employee safety. 

#4: Redesign Your Space

Your original office layout likely isn’t up to the standards of a post-COVID social distancing world. This means a redesign of your workspace, including areas you might not have considered. Not only should the office layout be managed to maintain a distance of six feet between employees, rooms, and walkways that typically saw more traffic should be adjusted for the new normal.

 

Create indicators in hallways and bathrooms to maintain one-way traffic or individual use so that your coworkers aren’t in close quarters when they don’t have to be. Breakroom furniture and layouts should be adjusted to accommodate fewer individuals at a time. Sanitization stations and equipment should be accessible and neatly organized.

 

A comprehensive redesign will allow the members of your team to keep a safe distance while maintaining functionality but take the opportunity to have fun with your work environment. Consider redecorating with sustainable decor. Add some plants. Integrate color. Create a fun, thriving workplace despite the added anxiety of social distancing rules that will help your employees and coworkers adjust to the new normal. 

#5: Focus on Employee Safety

First and foremost should always be the safety of those working in an office. Consider measures you can implement to enhance employee safety and combat the pandemic. 

 

There are many different strategies you can integrate into your redesigned business plan; here are just a few ideas:

 

  • Contract healthcare professionals to monitor temperatures of those entering the building
  • Educate and be consistent on proper facemask procedures
  • Provide sanitizing equipment and individual office supplies to reduce sharing
  • Limit the number of employees on break and in shared spaces at any given time
  • Allow able employees to work from home
  • Integrate smart solutions for visitor monitoring and employee security

 

Start with your broad business plan and narrow it to specific ways you can maintain employee safety. In the wake of COVID-19, businesses need to implement every policy they can for team member comfort and morale. These are but a few suggestions for a safer future. 

 

By following these strategies to redesign your business before opening or reopening, you will provide your team with a safe office environment with the resources they need to be successful. 

 

How Did COVID 19 Affect People with Disabilities

COVID 19 presents a global threat, and the pandemic is particularly dangerous for many groups, including the elderly, people who already have a health condition, and people with disabilities. Everyone in the world is affected by this crisis in some way or another.

The risks are not just health-related. The global economy has suffered a lot thanks to the virus, and many people are endangered, as they can’t provide for themselves and their families. Some people are given opportunities to work from home and keep their income steady, while others don’t have the same luxury. Read on for a thorough breakdown of how COVID 19 affects people with disabilities.

1. Not All Disabled People Are Affected the Same Way

We shouldn’t bundle all people within a group together, because being disabled can be a lot of different things. What we’re getting at, is that some disabled persons live alone, and cope with it just fine, while others depend on help from others.

A lot of disabled people live in groups, such as nursing homes. People who live in such facilities are impossible to isolate. As everyone already knows, isolation is the best prevention against COVID 19. The people who can’t isolate themselves are at the highest risk of exposure to the virus.

Imagine living in close quarters with many other disabled people, with no chance of isolation. In those conditions, people with disabilities are at high risk of contracting COVID 19, because they aren’t just in contact with other invalids, they are also in contact with the helping staff. It’s not a single doctor or nurse who takes care of them, they’re a dozen.

The medical staff is very exposed to COVID 19, and they take the biggest risks. Furthermore, their patients are at risk too, meaning that medical facilities aren’t exactly the safest right now. Finally, we can conclude that people with disabilities aren’t affected equally, and their disability isn’t the biggest risk. On the contrary, the risk lies in their living arrangements and their possible exposure to COVID 19.

2. Economic Stability Is a Huge Factor Too

The harsh reality in any crisis is that well-situated people are generally safer than those with low or no income at all. The same goes for the disabled. Being rich or having some financial backing goes a long way for treating any medical condition, and preventing exposure to a virus as widespread as COVID 19.

Money is not a bulletproof shield, but it is a shield of sorts. In a state of emergency, it can help immensely because it can provide the necessary protection and coping mechanisms. Generally speaking, people with disabilities usually aren’t as financially stable as those with no medical conditions. People who live in countries with proper social care systems don’t have to worry as much as those in low-income countries.

Money can get you medical, hygiene, and food supplies to last in this difficult situation. If you have money to spare, you can pay for various delivery services, which are extremely popular these days. Most people, not just those with disabilities, don’t have big savings for dark days.

You can say we’re all experiencing those dark times right now. Social service programs that help the disabled financially aren’t exactly giving out enough money to provide savings. Those cheques are usually instantly spent on basic needs. If you’re disabled and manage to get a job, which is incredibly difficult right now, you can say goodbye to the social support cheques.

3. Is Working an Option?

People with disabilities have a much harder time finding a job at any time, let alone during a crisis. Some disabled people are lucky enough to have jobs that can be done from home. They are in the best position right now because they have a steady income and they can self-isolate.

On the other side are people with disabilities whose work involves human contact. They’re at risk, and there’s nothing to be done because they can’t just go and work from home. If they leave their job, they won’t have any income unless they manage to get some social security fast. What’s better, to be poor and “safe”, or to keep your job and stay exposed to COVID 19? There’s no right answer to that question since both options are far from perfect.

If you’d like to help people with disabilities in this time of crisis, it’s best to apply for the NDIS registration process at Provider Plus. It’s a very difficult process, so you shouldn’t do it without professional help. Provider Plus is an all-in-one service, which can help your business become an NDIS registered provider in no time. They have a 100% approval rate for all their clients, which speaks volumes about their success.

Conclusion

Even though maintaining physical health is important, we shouldn’t disregard mental health either. This global state of alert is not beneficial to the mental state of anyone. Isolation is more difficult for those with mental issues. They must be given some leeway, and the right to occasionally go outside and take a breather.

People with disabilities are usually bundled together, under the same banner, but they are not the same. Their disabilities differ, some have physical disabilities, while others have mental health conditions. Each of these conditions should be addressed specifically, and these people should be given appropriate help, especially in these dire circumstances.

Is Drug Testing at Workplace a Good Idea?

Here we have a slightly controversial topic on our hands. Objectively looking drug testing at the workplace has its benefits and of course, it has its drawbacks.

Many companies consider drug testing at the workplace a fair policy and safety precaution – they are not only protecting their business but their employees as well. There are even laws and regulations regarding workplace drug abuse.

Let’s start with all the types of drug testing methods available for workplace testing and work towards whether or not it’s a good idea.

Types of drug testing methods

A drug test determines whether or not an employee is using any illegal substances. Currently, many employers, as well as employees, are starting to realize the importance of this policy. This is also why both employees and employers should be aware of all the possible types of drug testing methods.

The most important thing to know is that you have options as there are at least five types of methods available for workplace drug testing.

The first option is the most common option used for drug testing and that’s a urine drug test. If someone has been using drugs recently, the traces of it will most definitely be detected in the urine.

While urine drug testing is the most common type of drug testing, a saliva drug test is the most popular one. This type of test is pretty self-explanatory and the reason for being so popular is due to its less invasive nature. Besides this method is not as expensive as all others.

The hair testing method is another good way of seeing whether a person has been using drugs. However, many people claim that this method is no good because it doesn’t measure current drug use but it can detect if someone used months before – which is not the point when it comes to workplace drug testing.

Another method includes blood testing. This method is the most invasive one and at the same time the most expensive out of all. And even if this method is often avoided because of its cost and invasiveness, it’s the best way to detect the presence of substances as well as the exact amount of substances used.

The fifth method includes perspiration testing. This method is fairly new and it requires wearing a sweat path on the skin for a couple of days. This patch will detect the presence of drugs through perspiration.

Benefits of drug testing at the workplace

Safety of the employees

The number one reason why drug testing at the workplace is a good idea is safety. Every employer should provide a healthy and safe work environment. One of the ways to do this is to implement the drug testing policy.

Workplace injuries and hazardous situations are often related to substance use. People who use drugs are less aware and they also tend to be less concerned about their own safety and the safety of others. Additionally, drugs tend to slow reaction time which means that those who use drugs are at risk and pose a risk to their coworkers as well.

Drug testing at the workplace will ensure that all employees are safe and healthy and it will prevent a dangerous situation, especially in high-risk jobs.

Avoiding legal problems

The drug-testing program can save you a lot of troubles, especially those of a legal kind. Just imagine how many legal problems can an employee who uses drugs cause. They can endanger not only their own lives but the lives of their coworkers as well as your own company.

Workplace drug testing program ensures that all your employees are safe, that the environment that they work in is also safe and that no one poses any risk.

Avoiding problems and maintaining good company image

Employees who use drugs can’t perform their duties to the best of their abilities. Drug intoxication causes many problems, and one of those includes making mistakes and giving poor results at work. Consequently, this affects the image of your company.

The best way to ensure that your employees are giving the best possible results and thus maintaining a good public image of your company is to implement a drug testing policy into your company.

Drawbacks of drug testing at the workplace

Invasion of privacy

Drug testing at the workplace is often seen as an invasion of privacy. Many employees feel like drug testing is a violation of their privacy, their freedom and also a lack of trust from their employer.

This is especially true in cases of random drug testing when a random employee is chosen to do the test. That individual may feel resentful and insulted.

Expensive drug tests

As mentioned above, there are several different types of drug tests and some of them can be pretty costly. This is the main reason why so many employers tend to stay away from implementing drug testing programs.

Bottom line is that in many cases the benefits of workplace drug testing outweigh the drawbacks. Nothing beats the safety of your employees and the safety of the work environment.

There are different methods of drug testing that don’t have to be all that expensive and yet they do the work. Ultimately, the decision about whether drug testing at the workplace is a good idea or not is on the employer.

The Impact of COVID-19 On SEO

All across the globe, the pandemic of COVID-19 has changed people’s lives and not for the better. However, hard as these measures may be on the lives of individuals, the impact on society as a whole can be just as terrifying. People are losing their jobs, enterprises are getting shut down and even those that are still running are worried about their future. Even industries that exist in the digital environment are affected by all that is going on.

A perfect example of this is the industry of digital marketing, specifically the field of search engine optimization (SEO). This impact, nonetheless, is not so easy to analyze, mostly due to the fact that it has so many contextual factors to take into consideration. So, in order to further examine the effects of COVID-19 on SEO, we need to cover the impact on the technical aspect of SEO and the state of the industry as a whole. Here’s what you need to know!

1. Essential vs. non-essential employees

While it may be true that a lot of people are getting jobless due to the fact that their workplace is getting shut down, when it comes to those working in the digital environment, things are not so clear-cut. In fact, the majority of digital marketing agencies already employ telecommuters and allow their employees to work from home (if only a day or two every week). This means that the structure of the workforce in the industry shouldn’t change that much. With adequate tools like web conferencing software, collaboration software and employee management software, the majority of SEO agencies will be able to efficiently transfer all of their work into the digital environment.

2. The clients

Other than the employment status of their staff, SEO agencies are mostly concerned by the willingness of their clients to invest. First of all, a lot of businesses are seeing a massive fall in workload and revenue. Now, due to the fact that their marketing budget is usually a percentage of their average annual revenue, a lot of enterprises might start pulling their investment. On the other hand, online businesses are currently seeing an increase in workload, seeing as how people are spending more time at home and, therefore, have more time for online services. They also consume far more content. Also, due to the fact that the majority of them are looking to avoid crowded malls, e-commerce is also more popular than ever before.

Keep in mind that online businesses are probably the ones that were the most eager to invest in SEO, to begin with, seeing as how their SERPs directly affect their traffic and their revenue. Since now the competitiveness is even higher, the majority of these enterprises realize that scaling down on their marketing spending is definitely not a wise idea. After all, after every recession, those who managed to maintain continuity are the ones who get back on track the fastest.

Finally, we need to try and figure out which industries are marking the biggest growth amidst all of this. First of all, you have the retail industry which is marking a 34 percent spike in March. The gaming industry is also huge, seeing as how even the most adventurous people are now forced to commit themselves to indoor activities. For this very reason, social media is also marking a substantial increase (about 29 percent). However, industries like travel and tourism, as well as the event industry, are on an expected decline. For how long will this trend last… well, it’s hard to tell at the moment.

3. The content

Content marketing is pivotal to any successful off-site SEO project. Now, when it comes to the content itself, it’s more than clear that people nowadays are mostly concerned with the epidemic, which is why content dealing with this sensitive topic has the greatest CTR. Nonetheless, seeing as how we’re talking about something that people are genuinely interest and affectionate about, it’s vital that content creators realize that it’s their moral duty to do these things right. This is why you need to ask yourself is your use of keywords related to coronavirus relevant to your topic, as well as – is it ethical? This is especially true if the topic is more opinion than fact-based.

Naturally, due to the fact that they’re bored senseless, people are also looking for content that will provide them with fun indoor activities. Therefore, DIY projects are far more popular than ever before. Another major boost in popularity can be seen in the field of microlearning. More and more people are exploiting this chance to take online courses but also to work on things they always wanted to try out but never had the time or energy to pursue. For instance, those with more athletic aptitude are more likely to look up calisthenics workout routines and tips.

4. Professional assistance

There are a lot of guides and tools out there that promise small business owners an opportunity to handle their own digital marketing campaign. The thing is, however, that the end result is never quite the same. Sure, a DIY SEO project can help you somewhat improve your rank, however, in a world where 33 percent of all searches end with the No.1 result, can you really afford to settle for being on the first page? The truth is that those who plan to stay competitive want to invest in professional SEO services. This way, they can get an end-to-end SEO project with guaranteed results and continuity in terms of ranking.

5. On-site optimization and updates

A lot of things have changed due to coronavirus and its consequences. Having proper metadata is as vital as it ever was, nevertheless, there are other factors in play, as well. For example, you might have been forced to close your brick and mortar office, which is why you need to update the info on your website. If you were forced to downsize your team and therefore operate on a smaller capacity, you need to let your audience know this in advance.

For instance, companies in the e-commerce industry are receiving an unprecedented number of orders on a daily basis, which causes a lot of logistical delays. It is, therefore, a great move to address your audience about this issue either immediately upon entering your site or via email outreach. You can even promise them special rewards after the crisis is over, nevertheless, this is a more of a PR issue than it is an SEO one.

6. Watch up for Google updates

While it is true that google updates are a fairly regular occurrence, you need to understand that the situation at the moment might facilitate these things a bit. Why? Well, first of all, we’ve mentioned the fact that there’s much more content being both published and consumed than is usual. Second, it’s important to mention that there’s a lot of false information circling around, which can potentially damage the reputation of the search engine as a whole. Therefore, it’s logical to expect that the staff behind the algorithm will be much more alert and active in the following weeks.

7. Survey your audience more regularly

Like Google, businesses and digital marketers need to be quicker to change and adapt, as well. As we’ve mentioned before, the behavior patterns of your audience have changed overnight and marketers can no longer stick to pre-COVID-19 numbers. The amount of time that people spend on social media, blogs and YouTube, the quality of content and many other factors have their own metrics that need to be adjusted. Therefore, it is pivotal for every serious digital marketer to start new surveys and see what the numbers show.

In conclusion

As you can see, even amidst the crisis, there’s no rest for those who want to lead their business towards a brighter future. Businesses that aim to survive the incoming crisis need to find a way to stay competitive. Seeing as how the majority of people in self-isolation turn to the internet for answers and pastime, SEO might just be the most effective way of achieving this.

Ways Businesses Can Use SEO to Combat Coronavirus Impact

While it is true that some businesses and industries are suffering due to the effects of COVID-19 on the industry and society, not all businesses are doing as badly in these conditions. You see, while people are being locked in their homes, which means that they’re either forced to work as telecommuters or are losing their jobs, for some businesses, there are also those who can see past the crisis. Naturally, even those businesses that get shut down will look towards rising again, after the dust has settled. Speaking of which, why would you have to start from scratch? With the help of SEO (and digital marketing, in general), you can successfully combat the effects of Coronavirus. Here are several tips to help you do so.

1. People use online services to overcome this situation

If your business is providing an online service or a door-to-door delivery like the majority of e-commerce businesses, chances are that your services are now more in demand than they ever were before. You see, people are turning their backs on traditional retail in favor of e-commerce, seeing as how this approach allows them to keep up with their social distancing practices. In other words, while some industries are not doing so great, your own revenue might go up.

Now, rule of thumb is that you should use about 10 percent of your average annual revenue, however, if the industry is particularly competitive, setting aside anywhere between 20 and 50 percent may be acceptable. If your revenue is growing, so should your marketing spending. Just keep in mind that you’re not the only one with this idea. Since about 33 percent of all online searches end with the No.1 result, chances are that your position on the SERPs will determine your audience and your revenue. This means that when it comes to your Google position, now’s not the time to start being skimpy.

2. People consume more content

The next thing you need to understand about coronavirus and its consequences is the fact that they’re keeping people indoors consuming more digital content and craving more entertainment. This is why, despite the fact that some industries are currently doing quite poorly (manufacturing, energy, etc.), online businesses are on a steady rise. More apps are getting downloaded than ever before, more shows binged and more video games played. Other than this, people are watching more YouTube, spending more time on social media and, overall, consuming all sorts of content from traditional text-based posts all the way to podcasts. Ensuring a better position for your content, through SEO, is, therefore, a great idea.

3. A campaign to counter the effects

In order to protect your business, you need to know exactly what you’re up against. This means getting the right assessment of your current situation and the effects that this situation may have on your business, as a whole. The first step in getting this done lies in hiring the right team. In order to get the maximum effect out of your digital marketing campaign, you can’t leave anything to chance. Ideally, you would find a trusted SEO reseller that specializes in white label SEO. This should provide you with an end-to-end SEO service. DIY SEO methods can be quite effective but without a bigger picture, they’ll never give you what you truly desire.

4. Cutting less leads to bigger returns

Saving money is a good idea, in general, however, saving money at any cost is never a smart move. Why? In the past, we had several financial disasters and crises and all of them showed one thing. By cutting less during downtime, you’re gaining more in better times. Why is that so? Well, first of all, you’re not disrupting your business, which means that you need to take a smaller leap in order to get back to your full capacity. Second, due to the fact that you’re demonstrating resilience, you’re creating a stronger case in the eyes of your audience and potential investors.

5. A chance to overcome your competitors

Even though we’ve listed many reasons why keeping up with your marketing is such a good idea, there are a lot of your competitors that are going to ignore this advice entirely. Some of these competitors even had bigger marketing budgets than your own enterprise, which means that, in regular conditions, you had a tough time overcoming them. This is where your SEO plays huge in days to come. By providing your business with higher Google rank and better SERPs, you’re demonstrating a clear superiority of your brand over theirs. Due to the fact that these companies were industry top-dogs in the pre-COVID-19 days, your feat will seem even more impressive in the eyes of your audience. In other words, you’re using the strength of their own brand to your own advantage.

6. Checking the customer sentiment

It goes without saying that a lot of customers are changing their shopping habits in isolation. Why? Well, first of all, the fact that they may soon be in a much worse financial state makes them reconsider their priorities. In other words, they’re more reluctant to spend money on luxury goods and services. Also, due to the fact that they’re not going out so much, they’re less likely to spend money on clothing and jewelry items. The same goes for all sorts of cosmetic goods. Still, all of this is situational and depends on the region and the service in question. A great SEO analytics effort can help you figure this one out quite effortlessly.

In conclusion

At the end of the day, combating the Coronavirus impact will require a lot of PR and sometimes, exploiting the rising organic traffic might be the best way to do so. Inbound marketing is quite effective at subtly making a great impression on your audience, which is just what you need, at the moment. However, this requires a lot of technical knowledge and strategy development, which is why you definitely need some professional help. Needless to say, moments of crisis are the time for you to display your entrepreneurial prowess.